About CESP

The Center for Existential Studies and Psychotherapy (CESP) is an open, not for profit community of psychotherapists interested in the relationship between existentialism and psychotherapy.

Grounded by an awareness of our mortality, existentialism is a powerful approach that focuses on universal aspects of the human condition. These factors include freedom, responsibility, aloneness, guilt, and the search for meaning. These distinctive features of existential thinking can be applied to all types of psychotherapy.

CESP was founded in 2014 by Washington, DC based psychotherapists Jane Prelinger, MSW, and Michael Stiers, PhD.  The two psychodynamic clinicians shared an interest in existentialism, and were curious about how an existential sensibility could enhance their work with patients. Together, Prelinger and Stiers began to convene groups of therapists interested in exploring existential themes in their clinical work, and lives, using film, literature, poetry, and philosophy. 

CURRENT AND PAST OFFERINGS


Book Club 3.0 – Thought as Mental Action – Psychological Responsibility

Richard Smith, PhD / March – November 2021

  • Oedipus at Colonus (Sophocles)
  • Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison)
  • The Winter’s Tale (William Shakespeare)
  • Howards End (E.M. Forster)

Book Club 2.0 – Self-Creation and the Creative Self – Decision Points

Richard Smith, PhD / March – November 2020

  • Mrs. Dalloway (Virginia Woolf)
  • Beloved (Toni Morrison)
  • Measure for Measure (William Shakespeare)
  • Middlemarch (George Eliot)

Book Club 1.0 – Existential Shipwrecks

Richard Smith, PhD / March – May 2019

 The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Milan Kundera) 

 King Lear (William Shakespeare)

 Villette (Charlotte Bronte)

Conferences

The Existential Sensibility: Self and Psychotherapy in an Uncertain World
(Co-sponsored with the Washington School of Psychiatry)
Special guest: Carlo Strenger, PhD, Professor of Psychology and Philosophy, Tel Aviv University
April 7-8, 2017

Movie Nights

Arrival
Julie Mitchell, LPC, Discussant
April 23, 2021

Grey Gardens
Megan Flood, MSW, Discussant
August 20, 2020

Nanette
Charlotte Blutstein, LPC, Discussant
May 17, 2019

Paterson
Barry Wepman, PhD, Discussant
September 15, 2017

Resolved
(Co-sponsored with the Center for Race, Ethnicity and Culture of the Washington School of Psychiatry)
Reginald Nettles, PhD and Michael Stiers, PhD, Discussants
May 6, 2016

The Sheltering Sky
Emily Randall, MSW, Discussant
January 20, 2016

Her
Michael Stadter, PhD, Discussant
September 18, 2015

The Swimmer
Jane Prelinger, MSW, Discussant
May 1, 2015

The Barbarian Invasions
Michael Stiers, PhD, Discussant
February 6, 2015

The Trip
Jane Prelinger, MSW, Discussant
November 14, 2014

Salons

Death Café
CESP Death Café
Jane Prelinger, MSW, Megan Flood, MSW, Richard Smith, PhD, Michael Stadter, PhD, Michael Stiers, PhD
October 20, 2018

An Existential Salon, Featuring the Poetry of Jonathan Stillerman, Ph.D.
Jane Prelinger, MSW, and Michael Stiers, PhD, Discussants
November 18, 2016

Seminars

Existential Therapy: The Workshop 3.0
Michael Stadter, PhD and Jane Prelinger, MSW
October 2021 – May 2022

Existential Therapy: The Workshop 2.0
Michael Stadter, PhD and Jane Prelinger, MSW
October 2020 – May 2021

Existential Therapy: The Workshop 1.0
Michael Stadter, PhD and Jane Prelinger, MSW
October 2019 – March 2020

Topics in Existential Psychotherapy
CESP Faculty and Michael Stiers, PhD and Emily Randall, MSW, Guest Lecturers
October 2017 – May 2018

Supervision Groups
Existential Ideas and Clinical Work
Jane Prelinger, MSW and Michael Stiers, PhD
September 2014 – June 2018

FUTURE OFFERINGS

Developmental Seminar Series
Megan Flood, MSW and Rachel Freedman, PhD
Spring 2022

Existential Therapy Conference
Date TBA

 

CONTACT US

We can be reached using this form.

Center for Existential Studies and Psychotherapy

4910 Massachusetts Avenue NW
STE 223
Washington DC 20016

cesp.wdc@gmail.com

CONTACT US

We can be reached using this form.

4910 Massachusetts Avenue NW
STE 223
Washington DC 20016

cesp.wdc@gmail.com

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